Seafood Paella

Seafood paellas should be made with a variety of fishes and shellfishes, as each adds its own flavor and texture to the dish. Moreover, always include jumbo shrimp, mussels or clams, and a firm white fish such as monkfish, halibut, or sea bass. Seafood paellas are often served with a cold, fresh, dry fino sherry; however, a zesty, dry California Sauvignon Blanc works well, too.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice

HERB BLEND:

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

PAELLA:

  • 1 pound monkfish or other firm white fish fillets
  • 16 unpeeled jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 16 littleneck clams
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar sliced pimento, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preparation:

To prepare the broth, combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. To prepare the herb blend, combine parsley and the next 4 ingredients (parsley through 2 garlic cloves) and set aside.

To prepare paella, trim the connective tissue from the monkfish; cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel and de-vein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and shrimps; sauté for 1 minute. Remove the seafood mixture from the pan, and keep warm. Add onion and bell pepper to the pan, and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, paprika, crushed red pepper, and 3 garlic cloves; cook for 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, herb blend, and peas. Bring to a low boil, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add clams to the pan, nestling them into the rice mixture.

Cook for 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Stir in the seafood mixture, and arrange the shrimps, heads down, in the rice mixture. Arrange pimento slices spoke like on top of the rice mixture; cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Remove from heat, cover with a towel and let it stand for 10 minutes.

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